Feature request: Set homepage as new tab?

Why is a browser that advertises itself as “The browser made for developers,” the only browser that does not allow you to open a custom home page in a new tab automatically when the new tab is opened? I have read years-old open issues on this and it doesn’t seem like something that is going to happen anytime soon.
Developers are the most likely population to have created a local custom home page with the links and content they prefer. Firefox allows you to set that as the home page, but in about:preferences#home under New Tab, the only options are Blank Page and Firefox Home (Default).
To make Firefox fit that advertising, can we please finally have an option in that dropdown for “My Homepage” (or if a user has more than one homepage, “My First Homepage”)?
There are add-ons which can help but NOT if the homepage is a file:// URL, due to security concerns about allowing add-ons access to anything at a file:// URL.

Firefox had this feature. It got removed due to security issues (new tab hijackers).

Imagine you are an adware company. Your software gets installed as part of some freeware. If you have this feature in Firefox available for you. What would it take to hijack my mom’s new tab page? With file system access the job is done.

Now the feature does not exist in firefox. How can an adware company do this? They need to build an extension, get it signed by Mozilla and hope Mozilla does not notice this. If they do, they will invalidate the signature.

You can load a new tab file with this extension. It needs all js/img/js in the same file https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/addon/new-tab-override/

Thanks for responding!
Why would it be a problem which is specific to new tabs other than the first one that loads when you open the browser? If it’s a problem for new tabs, shouldn’t it be also a problem that you can have a homepage?
Further, why does Firefox consider that a problem when other browsers don’t? Or have they solved it in a way we might be able to imitate?

It was and is a problem with the home page, but most people open dozens more new tabs in a session than new windows, so it was a much more acute problem with the new tab page than the home page.

Over time, Firefox has migrated some other frequently hijacked settings into compressed files, such as search.json.mozlz4. In theory, that kind of approach could be applied to preferences, but there probably is a compatibility-related or other reason that it hasn’t.

If it’s a problem with the home page too, why do we then allow people to have a custom homepage? Because it’s useful.

If malware has unlimited file system access, there is a lot more it can do. For example, it could overwrite a person’s desktop and change what they see on the system desktop. It could change the homepage. It could change lots of other aspects of how the browser works. Choosing to cripple useful functionality as a “proactive” step to “mitigate” those impacts is backwards thinking. Then choosing to advertise as “the browser made for developers” is just plain false.

Further, the default “Firefox Home” option exposes users to ads they don’t necessarily want to see on their new tab page. Why is that OK just becuase Mozilla makes some money off it, instead of someone else?

FF should either drop the advertising and claim to be a browser made for fearful people who want maximum protection even if that means less functionality (in that case, also disabling the ability to have a custom home page), OR stop disabling functionality that especially developers would find particularly useful.

By imperfect analogy to current events, it seems like the same logic would have Firefox choosing to intentionally infect itself with Covid-19 (“so you don’t have negative effects of getting infected later!”) and while still crippled by the effects of that choice, to go around claiming it’s the best tool made for supporting healthcare workers.

Your proposal to create a preference like browser.newtabpage.usefirsthomepage might happen. Have you already searched/filed a bug? https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/

I suggest you not get distracted trying to win an argument that a change made nearly 5 years ago in Firefox 41 was a mistake because it either went too far or didn’t go far enough. Enabling use of a file:// URL for the new tab page simply does not benefit enough people to justify reversing that change, so you’re better off focusing on what you really need and not relitigating ancient history.

Of course, changes to Firefox take a long time. Until then, are you already using the workaround? This is script you run either in Firefox’s Browser Console (MDN), or in an Autoconfig file. Either way, it’s good for the session:

var {classes:Cc,interfaces:Ci,utils:Cu} = Components;
var newTabURL = "file:///C:/FxDev/index.html"; // Your actual path goes here
aboutNewTabService = Cc["@mozilla.org/browser/aboutnewtab-service;1"].getService(Ci.nsIAboutNewTabService);
aboutNewTabService.newTabURL = newTabURL;

About autoconfig files: